Census Brings Pestilence

21 (A)Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, “(B)Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.” Joab said, “(C)May the Lord add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?” Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. Joab gave the number of the [a]census of all the people to David. And (D)all Israel were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword; and Judah was 470,000 men who drew the sword. (E)But he did not [b]number Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s [c]command was abhorrent to Joab.

[d]God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel. David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. (F)But now, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

The Lord spoke to (G)Gad, David’s (H)seer, saying, 10 “Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “I [e]offer you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Take for yourself 12 (I)either three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 13 David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, (J)for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

14 (K)So the Lord [f]sent a pestilence on Israel; 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw and (L)was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, “It is enough; now relax your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of [g]Ornan the Jebusite. 16 Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, (M)covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 David said to God, “Is it not I who [h]commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, (N)but these sheep, what have they done? O Lord my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father’s household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.”

David’s Altar

18 (O)Then the angel of the Lord [i]commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at the word of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan turned back and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. And Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself [j]before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the [k]site of this threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the Lord; for the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people.” 23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself; and let my lord the king do what is good in his sight. See, I will give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I will give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering [l]which costs me nothing.” 25 So (P)David gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the [m]site. 26 Then David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the Lord and (Q)He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. 27 The Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath.

28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he offered sacrifice there. 29 (R)For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were in the high place at Gibeon at that time. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:5 Lit muster
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:6 Lit muster
  3. 1 Chronicles 21:6 Lit word
  4. 1 Chronicles 21:7 Lit it was evil in the sight of God
  5. 1 Chronicles 21:10 Lit stretch out to
  6. 1 Chronicles 21:14 Lit gave
  7. 1 Chronicles 21:15 In 2 Sam 24:16, Araunah
  8. 1 Chronicles 21:17 Lit said
  9. 1 Chronicles 21:18 Lit said to
  10. 1 Chronicles 21:21 Lit to
  11. 1 Chronicles 21:22 Lit place
  12. 1 Chronicles 21:24 Lit gratuitously
  13. 1 Chronicles 21:25 Lit place

David Counts the Fighting Men(A)

21 Satan(B) rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census(C) of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count(D) the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over.(E) My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel(F) there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.

But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.

Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

The Lord said to Gad,(G) David’s seer,(H) 10 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

11 So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12 three years of famine,(I) three months of being swept away[a] before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword(J) of the Lord(K)—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy(L) is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead.(M) 15 And God sent an angel(N) to destroy Jerusalem.(O) But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented(P) concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying(Q) the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah[b] the Jebusite.

16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.(R)

17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd,[c] have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep.(S) What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family,(T) but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

David Builds an Altar

18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor(U) of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

20 While Araunah was threshing wheat,(V) he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.

22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels[d] of gold for the site. 26 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire(W) from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. 29 The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon.(X) 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 21:12 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate (see also 2 Samuel 24:13) of fleeing
  2. 1 Chronicles 21:15 Hebrew Ornan, a variant of Araunah; also in verses 18-28
  3. 1 Chronicles 21:17 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see 2 Samuel 24:17 and note); Masoretic Text does not have the shepherd.
  4. 1 Chronicles 21:25 That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms

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